tv [untitled] August 2, 2012 3:00pm-3:30pm PDT
not be too harsh on the aaa. they dealt with the culture of the time. i just finished a history of the civic center in the postwar period. it will give you a flavor of how other people treated the buildings in the civic center at the time. this is a report on city hall where they discussed lowering the ceilings and putting in the floor tiles. what has happened tonight with aaa is not quite out of step with the time. i urge you to proceed with this. it is not out of step with the area. president fong: thank you. next speaker, please. >> i am here to reiterate spur's support. our endorsement is reserved for projects of citywide importance,
with excellent planning that will ensure a safe, appealing, and useful urban setting for the people who live and work in san francisco. we support the existing 400 foot office tower being converted into 399 multi-residential family units. the area is extremely well served by transit. the ratio of less than 0.3 parking spaces per unit, combined with over 100 bike spaces, is welcome. this is consistent with other stretches of the neighborhood. the proposal to strip the tower of its concrete skin and replace it with a glass curtain wall is bold and elegant in its selection. color selection of the glass and pleasing window rhythms will be critical to the success of the design. we are glad the designers have
maintained their simplicity inconsistency. these designs show creativity and promised to be a unique and lively space. views from atop the 29th floor will be extraordinary. through 12 -- the 12 foot glass windscreen will be thrilling. this is a design upgrade in a prominent location. it introduces a street level retail. we urge you to move this project forward. thank you. >> my name is jim, and i am representing the height valley neighborhood association transportation and planning commission. we are enthusiastic in our support of this project. we feel this project keeps the feeling of the market octavia plan, encouraging transit-
oriented areas to the nucleus of high-density housing. we found the design to be extremely exciting, and we urge the essence of the design, apred through the refinements. a simple, elegant design is clearly an important piece of the success of this. as was mentioned, we are extremely proud of the leadership for having the affordable housing on site. this is a precedent we would like to see more people adhere to. about the only suggestion we had for the sponsor, as they raise their parking from 112 to 118 spaces -- we would almost
suggest that they take a much more aggressive stand on their car share. we were suggesting they do 0 point to five -- they to 0.25 for the residents and do not designate for car share. clearly, this building and the type of resident they will appeal to is almost the poster child for a car share concept. having more than three spaces would be desirable. that hardly takes away from our strong support for this project. we think that it, as previously mentioned by all speakers, will be a tremendous improvement both in use and aesthetics to this current unattractive space. thank you very much. >> my name is donald savoy.
i am the executive director of the civic center community benefit district. in our pocket, you will have my endorsement letter. we strongly support the project for a variety of reasons. the community benefit district is charged to help the civic center area with implementation of services that will enhance the experience for residents, business owners, visitors, and customers. we feel that activation of the area is a key component, considering the daytime population, the employees of the area, which completely leave. the nighttime population consists mostly of people attending concerts, ballet performances, etc.. mixing in this many residential units of completely, in a positive way, change the activity in that part of the district. ground-floor retail will also activate that corner.
also, it does satisfy your planning initiative, in terms of the market and octavia plan. you could not get more high- density retail near transit than that property. it is uniquely situated. the idea of the infamous wind is -- winds along van ness -- everybody knows how overwhelming the can be. the architectural plans to increase -- -- to diminish those win this will benefit the neighborhood. if you have any questions about the documents i have submitted, i will answer those questions. we urge you to move this forward and support it. thank you. >> good afternoon. danny campbell, sheet metal workers unit -- union. i am here to applaud this
aesthetically beautiful building. it is going to revitalize the civic center. it will be energy efficient to boot. we strongly look forward to your approval and moving this forward. thanks very much. >> i am jim chapel. i am an urban planner, representing myself. 12 years ago, i was part of a group of housing advocates, urbanists, community representatives, and developers who met with the mayor and his department heads to restart neighborhood planning and to prepare an underutilized land in buildings for housing development. this is why 100 van ness is here today. eight years of very hard work by your planning department and
thousands of citizen hours resulted in the brilliant market octavia plan. this project is fully compliant with and implements the market octavia plan. two years ago, i worked on formation of the civic center community benefit district. one of the big issues in this neighborhood, as you have heard, is the lack of people on the streets most nights. conversion into 400 desperately- needed housing units will put many more feet on the sidewalks throughout the neighborhood in the day and evening. there will be a new pedestrian- friendly retail ground floor, and a real ugly duckling will turn into a stunningly beautiful building. please approve the certificate compliance and grant the requested variances today. thank you very much. >> my name is julia sullivan,
program manager at the housing action coalition. on behalf of our member organization, i would like to express our strong support for this excellent project. our members discussed this project recently. of particular merit to us was that it proposes taking a long- vacant office high-rise and reclads it in a striking and beautiful way. it will help revive an underused part of van ness. this makes use of parking resources and does not build more. it conforms to the market and octavia plan area. it also provides 121 bike parking spaces and three city car share spaces. the 60 units of inclusionary
housing deserves special recognition, as it helps create a truly mixed income community. we are very disappointed to learn their open requests made to delay this project for more study or more process. we cannot support this in any way. more delay of a design project like this does not serve the best interest of the city. we believe this proposal will be a large benefit to this neighborhood, and we ask you to approve it without hesitation. thank you. president fong: is there any additional public comment on this item? seeing none, the public comment portion is closed. commissioner antonini: i think this is a wonderful project. i did receive the same correspondence from those interested in continuance, but i have contacted the project sponsor, and nobody is here to speak to it.
those concerns can certainly be addressed after approval. it is regrettable that we do not have a aaa here anymore, but i think there would be in a better place if there were still in san francisco, but not in this building. this will improve the use of a building that had some challenges, and still does. i have read over the material. there is the desire to do the affordable housing on site. we know there are costa hawkins tests. because we are giving density bonuses, we believe it will be allowed to happen. that is something we have no control over. i see the project sponsor has an alternative position if that cannot be done, which we cannot control. that addresses that. the second issue that came up -- it is really regrettable, what happened to the italian
palazzo renaissance-style building at 150 van ness. i went there when aaa had all their facilities there, and i would get maps and other things when i took trips. it was a beautiful building on the inside. i said, how could this look so bad on the outside? now i know the history. i am not sure if the ownership extends to 150 also. but are there plans to strip the skin off of that building and expose the original building? i do not really know whether it is part of this project, or whether it even is jointly owned. but whoever does obtain a building would be wise to expose the building, much as was done at the old chronicle building, where the brick is exposed and it is a much better looking building than was there before. i am very much in favor of the
project. our most pressing need for housing is probably housing for families, with enough bedrooms, and possibly ownership. this is a very important need being satisfied. there are a lot of people who are predominantly singles or couples, renters, who will be working in the area. this satisfies that need, and perhaps takes a little more pressure off that part of the housing market that is more appropriate for larger families. it does the same things that often we are criticized for approving -- market race -- market rate housing for condominiums. but the same thing applies to that. if buyers of those condominiums are not competing to take older units off the market and convert them into home ownership status, jeopardize in the rental market,
it is all good. -- jeopardizing the rental market, it is all good. this puts eyes on the street. the 24-hour presence is a deterrence to crime. if people are living there, that are coming in and out. they are seeing activities on the streets that are less than ideal. they can report them to the authorities and make sure that are curtailed. we have talked about the green presence, the street presence, and perhaps a reduction in the winds. as everyone has mentioned, the color of the glass and how it is done is very important. i think a richer color is probably the best. i think 560 mission is one of the best glass buildings in the city. that is a good color to look at and see if that is appropriate. some of the colors of our glass
buildings, like the intercontinental hotel, could have chosen a better view. -- better hue. if it is too pale, it is not rich. i would look at the richer, darker blues or greens. since it is such a landmark, it is going to be so visible. it is important that it be the right shade or shades, but i think it is a great project. commissioner moore: i would simply say it is a remarkable project at a remarkable time, adaptive reuse to the kind of use that complements market octavia n. civic center. it is close to a strike of genius, i think. i am extremely happy to support all of the positive aspects which were eloquently summarized. i am not normally as supportive of things, because we are here
to quickly take things under the microscope. in this case, all of the questions we are concerned about are answered. we did not prod the developer, but the developer delivered them. this creates units on site, which is what we would like in almost all projects. it delivers below the requirements for car spaces, based on the market octavia plan. there is bike parking, there is car share. there is consideration of environmental performance and win the baffling. the list goes on. eight or 10 items, which are a closer examination doable -- he offered a persuasive adaptive reuse. i would agree with the department attempt to continue
the discussion on some of the elements of the exterior design, including color. however, i am extremely supportive and laudatory of the situation, taking the building out of a limited rectangular geometry into something that creates a more exciting facade on the ground level. it is extremely important to not just make this building of like another office building, but make it a mixed use retail/residential building. the addition of residential at the lower part of market will transform the entire area, including van ness and market street. new buildings coming on line should help create a vocabulary of the new architecture which speaks to each other. i am concerned that the taller buildings we will be building here are not all trying to
attract attention on themselves, but create a harmonious setting which operates at the ground floor as well as the upper skyline they will create together. this building will be one of the first tall buildings at this intersection. i very much of forward to see the department worked with the architect and some of the other commissioners to continue the dialogue. commissioner sugaya: i have one question, i think, either for staff or the project sponsor, about the other building that has been mentioned. have we had any inquiries about that particular property? >> not that one. my understanding, and others can correct me if i am wrong, is that the original facade was ripped off when the green glass
was applied, unfortunately. the interior spaces are intact, but the exterior no longer exists that was originally on the building. commissioner sugaya: i support the project and would move to approve with conditions, and with the understanding that there will be additional work on the exterior surface. vice president wu: i agree with many of my fellow commissioners on the merits of the project, and would especially like to see that the structure is intact, and putting a new skin on it -- the notion of adaptive reuse is more green than brand new lead certified buildings. -- leed-certified buildings. i also liked to see the mix of bedrooms. i do not like it when it is all
studios. i appreciate seeing the mix, i think. i also appreciate the project sponsor's ability or agreement to keep meeting with community groups, even though the request came in quite late. commissioner moore: can i ask you a question? i think we talked about the adjoining building, and i am not trying to put you on the spot, but have there been any discussions between you and the adjoining owners about how to resolve these adjacencies? >> we have done virtually nothing on that. our focus was on the tower. as was noted earlier, they jackhammer of all the exterior of the thing. they just hung those ugly panels
on it. what i would like to do -- i do not know whether the owners would want to do it. we will see. we are certainly going to look at that. whatever happens here, it has to work with the tower. we will have to work on that. right now, it is totally up in the air. commissioner moore: we hope the taller buildings will fit into a context, and everybody else will participate in that discussion. i myself do not have any idea as to whether that facade could be reconstituted. i am not even sure that would be appropriate. >> we did have j. turnbull look at that. it does not work, unfortunately. it has been jackhammered. commissioner antonini: my comments were mostly what commissioner moore brought up about taking into consideration.
obviously, we need to make sure the design is independent, even though there still might be an ugly building next door for a while. in no way do we want to try to replicate anything that is close to that, i hope. there also was some talk about changing the parking entrance. it is going to come off of hayes street in the future, if i am not mistaken. that is a separate right of way. there is a third aaa building that is connected by an above- ground passageway across hayes. again, there is no connection to that in this purchase. hopefully, we can find everyone to work together, because there is that passageway, which presumably will be eliminated. maybe not. whoever the buyer of that other
building -- if there is a desire for that to take place, it might fit together with this building, if possible. i think 150 connect across to the other property. do you want to bring some light on to that? >> the other building was being used by the university for classes. i do not know what their long- term use would be, except as a classroom. commissioner sugaya: did we know that? commissioner miguel: yes. president fong: any additional comments? call the question. >> the motion on the floor is for approval. condition that the project sponsor continue working with the stuff on design.
commissioner antonini: aye. commissioner hillis: aye. commissioner moore: aye. commissioner sugaya: aye. vice president wu: aye. president fong: aye. >> thank you, commissioners. that motion passed unanimously on the variance. scott sanchez: i close the public hearing, noting it is an adaptive reuse of an existing non-complying structure. >> thank you. commissioners, you are now on item 9, 706 mission st., the mexican museum and residential tower project. this is a public hearing on the draft environmental impact report. >> good afternoon. i am debra dwyer, planning department's staff. this is the public hearing on the draft eir for case number 2008.1084e, the mexican museum
and residential tower project. i am joined by the preservation technical staff and the senior environmental planner. in addition, the successor agency to the redevelopment agency is here. briefly, the project would include the rehabilitation and restoration of the building at third and mission streets, conveyance of the parcel to the project sponsor, and the new construction of a 47 story, 550 foot tall tower connected to the building. space would be provided for the mexican museum within the lower floors of both structures. restaurants, retail, or commercial use is proposed for the ground floor of the other building. up to 215 residential units
would be provided. flex options for the upper floors to remain office use or be converted to residential use have been analyzed. in addition, seven circulation and access to areas have been analyzed. these consider how people will enter and exit the project site. the draft eir found that implementation of the proposed project would result in a considerable contribution to a significant and unavoidable cumulative shadow impact. in addition, circulation and access variance would result in significant and unavoidable traffic impacts. other potentially significant impact with regard to archeological resources, noise and vibration, air quality, and hazardous materials would be reduced to less than significant with the implementation of mitigation measures. a hearing to receive historic
preservation commission commons was held on july 18. i actually have the comments in a letter for you. staff is not here to answer comments today, but comments will be transcribed by the court reporter impact transferred to the comments and responses document. this will respond to all comments received, and make changes to the draft eir as appropriate. this is not a hearing to consider approval or disapproval of the project. that will follow the final eir certification. commons today should be directed to the adequacy and accuracy of the environmental analysis contained in the draft eir.
i would remind, enters to speak slowly and clearly so the court reporter can produce an accurate transcript. also,, andrews should state their name and address so they can be properly identified and so that we may send them a copy of the comments and responses when completed. we will also take any comments on the draft eir by the planning commission. the public comment began on june 28, and continues to fight -- through 5:00 p.m. on august 13. the comments not made orally today should be submitted in writing to the planning department. this concludes the presentation on this matter. unless commission members have questions, i would respectfully suggest the public hearing be opened. president fong: your right side
of the room, and try not to block the moderator. that would be great. joe fang, brian cenoba, paul sedway, margaret lynn, jack plumack, and edward collins. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i am the president of the homeowners' association at the four seasons, which is on the same block as the proposed project. on behalf of the homeowners, i am here to express